- Maintaining Your Site
Monthly website maintenance comes at a premium.
I’m going to put it right out there: Paying a developer monthly to keep your website well-maintained is going to add up. You may have heard that monthly website maintenance prevents costly website redesigns, which is true. You may also be thinking that if you set aside the monthly cost of hiring a developer to perform maintenance, paying for a redesign when necessary would be a piece of cake. This one is more true-ish.
There’s more to a website redesign than the financial cost.
While setting aside the monthly premium that would go toward maintenance could help you plan financially for an eventual redesign, there’s more at stake than how to pay for it. Having to undergo a full website redesign should not be a decision you enter into lightly. Nor should it be something a website owner should embrace as “inevitable.”
Just the opposite—redesigns are disruptive to your website and its visitors.
Your website visitors have come to expect a certain experience associated with your business and its website. Even if your intentions of undergoing a redesign are to improve that experience—and they should be—creating something entirely different can be jarring and lead to unexpected reactions from your audience. In extreme cases, these reactions can include visitors abandoning your website for a competitor, simply because the experience is now more familiar.
In addition, redesigns pull your focus toward the next version of your website while your current website is still being used by visitors. Content creation, campaigns, email marketing—all forms of communication that you typically push through your website can suffer simply due to the time required in creating a new version. While visitors may bounce back in the excitement over a new website launch, some may find refuge with a competitor who is more consistent.
Bottom line: Redesigns are a completely different animal than creating a new website for your business. There is more at stake when your aim is to improve what is lacking than when making it for the first time.
True redesigns should only be considered for specific reasons. Even then, most reasons for a redesign could be avoided if you stay on top of regular website maintenance.
Often a redesign is the answer for your website when things have slipped to the point of no return. There is some wiggle room for exceptions, but it can be said that well-done website maintenance could never cause a redesign.
Take a look at the following “good” reasons for a website redesign. Also note how regular website maintenance could either fix or prevent each from happening:
Your business has had an identity shift.
If your business has changed dramatically—by this I mean a new business model, mission, or scope—then it is natural that your website will need to be revisited. If your business has a new logo but its core practice and identity has remained the same, it is possible to avoid redesign with smart integration that can be made during regular maintenance.
Your website is built on an outdated or unsupported technology.
Technology—including that which we use to build and view things online—is constantly evolving. If your website is truly unsupported by modern technology (or “broken”), a redesign is necessary to provide accessibility to your visitors. Monthly maintenance can prevent this by catching failing technology and replacing it as support shifts.
Your website is providing a bad experience to visitors.
It is possible to have a visually beautiful but poorly designed website that is difficult to navigate or use. If you suspect this is the case, have a website developer assess your website to determine the level of damage. Your website developer can address these with routine maintenance by regularly monitoring your Google Analytics or other visitor tracking tool and employing A/B testing to find the layouts that work best for your audience.
Paying for website maintenance when you can’t do it yourself safeguards your visitors’ experience from getting to the point of no return.
The true value in website maintenance is not necessarily in what it saves you financially, but in how it protects your website from having to start over at square one with visitors. Keeping an online reputation of being easy-to-use, responsive to visitors’ needs, and up-to-date is much easier than rebuilding one after you gain infamy for the opposite.
A good reputation is definitely worth maintaining.